Editor's letter (May 28 issue)

The practice of selling birds at auction is a thorny topic in birdkeeping circles. This is because poorly organised auctions, in which birds are sold in questionable conditions (cages too small and dirty, for instance), reflect badly on the fancy. And this, in turn, gives those that wish to ban birdkeeping perfect ammunition to fire in our direction.  
Hawk Eye touches on this controversial topic in this week’s column (see page 17 of this week's issue). He reckons that many birdkeepers regard auctions as “nasty affairs that we’d be better off without”. But he feels that few people voice their opinion because they fear being labelled an anti.
Sadly, keeping quiet in this instance doesn’t help our cause – or our birds – very much, which is why it’s pleasing to see that the Bird Strategy Group is prepared to tackle the subject (see page 2 of this week's issue). The group plans to look at ways in which auctions can smarten up their act and will most likely include these measures in its revised Avian Welfare Strategy. As ever, we will keep you posted on the group’s findings…
Another topic that frequents these pages more than any other is the problem of birds “going light”. It’s pleasing to have avian vet Brian Stockdale clear up the myths and misinformation about this health issue in this week’s Vet Clinic (see page 8 of this week's issue). This is required reading for anyone who keeps birds that have lost weight without an obvious reason.
And finally, if you love garden birds as much as the ones you keep, you might be interested in our reader offer in which you can purchase a bird feeder for a reduced rate. If you subscribe to Cage & Aviary Birds you can knock a further 10 per cent off the price. Full details are on page 17 of this week's issue.